IHAO on ... Ocean's Eleven

Ocean's Eleven is a heist film.   A modern remake/reimagining of the original rat pack film, Ocean's 11.  This time around, Ocean gets out of prison and comes up with a heist to take a whole heap of money from a casino on the night of a boxing match.  He gathers the characters together, and then they do it, with a few twists and turns where it looks like things go wrong except it is all exactly as planned.

This movie is not good.  It isn't terrible or anything, but it fails in a lot of really important ways:

1. The characters are terrible, boring, not fleshed out, and ultimately uninteresting.  Everyone fits a niche or a caricature (or even worse when it comes to "black guy who works at casino and is black" played by Bernie Mac) or EVEN WORSE, is a terrible terrible TERRIBLE accented black "British" man played by Don Cheadle.  I mean really, were Robbie Gee or Lennie James busy?  Oh, they weren't famous enough for you Soderbergh?  Ok.  All of that little rant was speculation by the way.  Regardless, every character here is limp, lifeless, and unfulfilling, with the only "interesting" traits shown being ones that are 100% for a plot point later one.

2. The plotting is dull, lacking any real tension, with everything just being played coyly with a flippant Clooney smile.  They don't even try to hide big plot reveals, like the fact that Brad Pitt (who we heard just a few minutes earlier on a telephone) is the faceless guardsman who we hear over a relay.  HE SOUNDS THE SAME, YOU GUYS, WE CAN TELL IT IS HIM.

3. For a heist film, this is a really tame and boring scenario.  Rob one casino, with 11 people, over the course of two weeks, all shown in a 2 hour long film.  I've seen better, more intricate, more exciting episodes of Leverage, with only 5 people to it.  Or Burn Notice, with 3.  Want movies?  Try 3000 Miles to Graceland.  Or Tower Heist.  Or Snatch.  Or Ocean's 11, the original one, that was about robbing FOUR casinos in one night.

There is nothing special or interesting about this standard buncha-crunch of celebrities all mixed together to make a really good paycheck.  This is a popcorn film, pure and simple.  Lowest common denominator.  And while for some people, that gives it a pass, for me, it actively angers me as a viewer of film.  If you treat audiences like they are idiots, they will ... pay even more money to see the sequel, and even more for the next one.  Ugh.  What a world.

Grade: C--

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